Ship Brooklyn

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The ship Brooklyn carried Latter-day Saints from New York City to San Francisco in 1846.



Our Pioneer Heritage

As Printed in Utah, Our Pioneer Heritage,

"The history of western America presents evidence of the achievements of the men and women who arrived in upper California in July, 1846 having sailed, according to the ship's log, 24,000 miles from the time they left New York harbor until they arrived six months later in the bay of San Francisco. The records of California credit these Brooklyn Saints as being the first farmers, first educators, first builders, first legislators, and the publishers of the first Anglo-Saxon newspaper in the golden state. Nearly every beginning of a community effort was the direct result of the labors of these Latter-day Saints who had endured financial losses, physical hardships, sickness and even the loss of loved ones, to participate in this perilous voyage, in order that they might be able to live the principles of the Church which had become so much a part of their lives.
Those who came on to Utah to join with the body of Saints, according to the Church plan of gathering to the new Zion, also contributed greatly to the building of this intermountain commonwealth. Here, again, we find them lending their influence to Utah's growth. These people could not be stopped by oceans, mountains, rivers or deserts for theirs was a destiny that must be fulfilled."

Church News


The voyage of thge ship Brooklyn was, perhaps, the longest sea journey of any religious outcasts in history. The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on their way to Canaan. The pilgrims of 1620 crossed the Atlantic, a voyage of 3,000 miles or more and lasted sixty-three days. The Pacific Pilgrims (Mormons) crossed the equator on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, went from the icy antarctic to the tropical Hawaiian Islands, and thence to California a voyage of 24,000 miles. There were 120 Purtian Pilgrims; the Pacific Pilgrims numbered 238 souls. The two groups were alike in many respects. Each group was composed predominately of young people with small children.     They had dauntless courage, intrepid daring, matchless faith, and trust in God. In 1844, after the martyrdom of its founder and leader, Joseph Smith, persecution of LDS church members became acute. In 1845, Church Authorities decided to leave Nauvoo, Illinois and prepared to move west planning to establish themselves in the wilderness of "The Upper California" which included the Great Basin. As an organization, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) had neither resources or credit.

     Church Authorities decided that its members living in New England and the Atlantic Seaboard, whose finances were inadequate to buy wagons, teams and provisions to take them to Nauvoo, Illinois, the starting place should pool their money and charter a ship. Orson Prat of the Council of the Twelve Apostles went to New York to help organize the expedition. Elder Samuel Brannan, an enthusiastic young printer of New York, was chosen as leader and authorized the charter a sailing ship. By combining all the resources of the LDS church members, they were able, after much bargaining, to secure the 370 ton chargo vessell "Brooklyn" under the command of Captain Richardson. They gathered supplies for the journey and equipment for use when they reached the west coast. Charges for the ship was $1,200 per month if they would furnish all of their own provisions and if the men would handle cargo. The capain of the ship ordered the space between decks converted to living quarters. A long table, backless benches, and sleeping cupicles with bunks were built and all were securely bolted to the deck.

     They sailed on February 4, 1846, coincidentally, the same day the Saints left Nauvoo. Seventy (70) men, 68 women and 100 children lived in cramped quarters with low ceilings where only the children could stand upright. Most suffered from sea sickness. Storms in the Atlantic blew them almost to Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa. Storms battered them around the Horn. Scurvy was prevalent and the water supply dwindled as they beat nort of Valparaiso, Chili. Gale winds blew them back into antarctic waters and out the the Juan Fernandez Islands, made famous by Defoe in "Robinson Crusoe". Here Laura Goodwin, mother of 7, was burried at Mas a Tierra with the first Mormon service ever held in the Southern Hemisphere. She had been thrown down a hatchway in a storm and died of her injuries. After five days' respite, they set sail for the Sandwich Isles (Hawaii).

     The ship Brooklyn stopped in Honolulu long enough to unload the cargo from New York. The passengers attended church services with missionaries who were serving there. They met Commodore Stockton who informed them that the United States and Mexico were at war. He advised them to buy guns and ammunition and that Brannan organize his men into military companies and drilled them. They drilled all the way to California." Published in the Church News sometime in the 1960's.